Field Notes: XMRE 1300XT

MREs are a popular emergency food option for many folks. They are also a good option for outdoor enthusiasts to include in their packs for a quick ready to go meal. I chowed down on a XMRE 1300XT meal recently and wrote this little review about it.

I picked up a case of XMRE 1300XT meals a while back and have been including them in both my training load out and deer hunting load out for quite some time just in case I find myself needing to consume some calories. However, I haven’t been in a situation where I actually needed to consume those extra calories. Given I haven’t ever eaten a MRE, I figured it was due to time to consume just so I know what I am dealing with if I’m ever in a situation where I need to refuel.

The MRE I took out of the case and tried was a hash brown potatoes with bacon peppers and onions menu item. The entire MRE provided 1340 calories broken down into 56 grams of fat, 144 grams of carbohydrates, and 26 grams of proteins. This is definitely not an ideal option for folks on a low carb diet, but a good option for refueling during prolonged physical activities.

The contents inside the package included:

  • The hash brown potatoes with bacon peppers and onions entree,
  • some NGMO roasted unsalted corn nuggets,
  • vegetable crackers,
  • cheese spread with jalapeños,
  • mini chocolate chip cookies,
  • orange flavored no fruit juice powder mix,
  • instant coffee (creamer and sugar),
  • salt and pepper packets,
  • a spoon,
  • a napkin,
  • a fresh nap,
  • a flameless meal heater,
  • and a heating element (that requires 3-5 ounces of water to activate).

To heat the entree, one puts the entree pouch, the heating element, and adds 3-5 ounces of water in the flameless meal heater bag. The heating element will begin heating and creating steam immediately as soon as the water makes contact with it. I highly suggest wearing gloves to help seal the flameless meal heater bag to avoid getting a steam burn. The entree heats in about 3-5 minutes which is around the same time it takes for all of the water to be turned to steam and escape through the steam vent in the bag.

Now this isn’t a gourmet meal. The flavor of the items are okay but it’s nothing to write home about. The entree was a little bland, but I enjoyed it after adding salt and pepper included in the MRE.

The corn nuggets and mini chocolate chip cookie had an okay taste to them. Both were very dry and benefited by being washed down with some water flavored with orange drink mix, which also tasted decent. Watch out for the desiccant packets found in both the corn nugget and mini chocolate chip cookie pouches.

I didn’t care for the vegetable crackers by themselves. However, the cheese spread helped mask their flavor and made them edible.

These MREs with current 2020 prices are a pretty good deal for emergency food right now. Given an approximate cost of $140 per case, one is looking about $9 per 1000 calories. Compare that to $22 per 1000 calories from a bucket of Mountain House freeze dried food currently priced around $140 and it’s pretty obvious how good of a deal the XMRE case currently is, at least on the surface.

The down side of MREs compared to freeze dried food as emergency food is the difference in shelf life. These MREs have an approximate shelf life of 5 years (compared to 25 years for freeze dried food). Taking this into account, the cost per 1000 calories over 25 years is about $45 for the MREs right now. With this long term perspective, I’d say freeze dried food options are a better value. Keep that in mind.

Overall, I liked the MRE and will continue to keep some around the house and with me when I’m out participating in shooting sports or other outdoor activities just in case I require some additional calories.

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